It had to happen eventually – a Microsoft activation key that doesn’t work

A client bought several Dell laptops recently. Nothing strange in that. Some of them had only Office 2010 starter edition since that was all that was required. Others had a full blown copy of Office 2010 Home and Business – with either a card in the box with the code or a sticker on the machines underside. All activated correctly until we got to the last one. No matter what we did the key we entered came up as invalid. After severa attempts the user decided to call Dell support and conferenced me in on the call. Thats where it started to get less of a customer services experience and more or a demonstration why globally seperated support doesn’t stand up.

The client was bounced from agent to agent and finally snapped. They had called Dell now on 3 occasions – had been told that a agent would call and deal with the issue but nothing had happened. The client could do no work until this issue was resolved. They needed a full version of Office to integratie with their CRM system. What was the response ? The Dell agent refunded the cost of the Office license and left the client to go out and purchase a version from a computer superstore for a greatly inflated price. Pretty poor result if you ask me.

On considering the issues raised – it really made me wonder if the user would have had the same experience if the laptop had been supplied by a Dell partner with access to local support in the country where it was purchased. I know from my experience that this would not likely have escalated to this point since an account manager would have made it their job to get this sorted and quickly.

Lets hope this is the one and only Office activation that fails so spectacularly. Lets hope Dell learned something from this mistake. I doubt that client will be back to Dell for anther laptop any time soon.